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GOAN PORK PIES

Makes 8 medium or 10 small pies

Goan food is heavily influenced by their former Portuguese colonizers, so there is a love of pork, pastry and vinegar, as well as beef, that is not found in other regions. These little pies are inspired by the pork empanadas much loved in Goa. I have changed the pastry as I wanted to bake rather than fry these pies, and also altered the recipe a little texturally, though the flavours are fairly true to the original. These are best served hot and make a wonderful lunch with salad, or are great for picnics, or also amazing as finger food (though you might want to make them smaller).

WHAT YOU NEED:

For the pastry

  • 225g (2 scant cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus more to dust
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 90g (6 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, chopped, plus more for greasing
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoon ice-cold water
  • a little milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the filling

  • 3–4 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium-small red onions, finely chopped
  • 30g (2 tablespoon) chopped root ginger (peeled weight)
  • 40g (11⁄2 oz) garlic cloves
  • 400g (14oz) pork shoulder, finely chopped (around 1⁄2–1cm/1⁄4–1⁄2in)
  • 1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 3–5 green chillies (chiles), stalks removed, pierced with a knife
  • 1 rounded teaspoon garam masala (fresh if possible, see page 113)
  • 1 rounded teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli (chili) powder
  • 300ml (11⁄4 cups) chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 11⁄2 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  • about 21⁄2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • handful of coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Start with the pastry. Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the whole thing looks like crumbs; don’t overwork it, or the pastry will be tough. Add the egg yolks and ice-cold water and bring together only until it is smooth and not cracking too much. The heat of your hands will help this. Make the dough into a smooth log, wrap it in cling film (plastic wrap) and place in the fridge to firm up and settle for 1 hour. (You can do this the night before, but take out and allow to soften before rolling.)
  2. For the filling, heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and well browned on the edges. Meanwhile, blend the ginger and garlic into a paste, adding enough water to help the blades turn. Scrape into the cooked onions and stir until all the liquid has dried off and the paste has had a chance to fry a little. Add the pork, flour, chillies and spices and stir over a gentle heat for a few minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and seasoning and bring to the boil. Cook over a medium heat for 20–25 minutes, or until the pork is soft.
  3. Add the sugar and vinegar, then take off the lid and stir to evaporate most of the liquid; the filling should be moist. Remove the chillies, stir in the coriander and leave to cool.
  4. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Take the pastry out of the fridge and cut into 8 pieces. Allow to soften slightly if they are hard. Using a little flour, roll each one out into a roughly 10cm (4in) circle. They are quite delicate as they are quite short, so don’t press too hard. Place a rounded tbsp of filling, plus a bit more, in the middle, brush milk all around the edge and enclose to make a semi-circle. Press the edges together to seal, either with your fingers or with the tines of a fork. Place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper or foil and buttered. Repeat to form all the pies.
  5. Brush well with the beaten egg, leave to settle, then brush again with egg. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until golden. Serve hot or warm.